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The push towards mobile games

At a time when most of the handset makers are offering similar features to their users, the companies are looking at mobile gaming to differentiate themselves.

Even the hardcore gamers have started converting towards the mobile games &#151 partly due to sheer need, after all the consoles cannot be carried everywhere, and second, the mobile gaming segment is being taken seriously by even the handset makers.

It’s good to be a part of the market which is being pampered by the mobile companies, right?

Sony Ericsson has launched a dedicated gaming phone, called Xperia Play, which has dedicated slide out keys for gaming. Since users are also able to make calls on the same device, gaming turns out to be an added bonus.

Those who find Sony Ericsson Xperia Play expensive, have other cheaper options in India as well including G4 Gamolution from Micromax and MAXX GLO MX388, which is a dual SIM phone.

The Micromax Gamolution costs Rs 5,999 whereas the MAXX GLO costs about Rs 2,400 only. The MAXX GLO MX388 comes preloaded with 250 games and memory of 2GB. For the price, the gaming experience by the phone appears to be good enough.

At a time when most of the smartphones are offering the same features and all the phones look almost the same, handset makers are looking to gaming phones for differentiating themselves in a crowded market. The battery life, however, could be a problem because playing a game on phone drains the battery faster.

At the recent Qualcomm conference, Uplinq, the chief executive officer of the company Paul Jacobs said that there is a surge in creativity in the history of mobile phones with numerous developers coming out with new apps and games.

Paul Jacobs was simply trying to impress the audience with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips which allow mobile game and app creators come out with more cutting edge products.

Mobile gaming is not the primary business of Qualcomm but the company sees a direct correlation between processor demand and mobile games which can run well only when the phone has better processing power.

The mobile gaming industry in India was still young, it was pegged at a size of Rs 100 crore and is likely to increase by 200 per cent in the current year.

As per the data gathered in 2009, about 30 million Indian used their mobiles to play games every day whereas total number of users playing games on their mobiles was 105 million. At the global level, five million iOS games are downloaded every day.

Unlike app stores on smartphones in India, the service providers are the most preferred source of games, followed by Zapak.com, Hungama.com and Rediff.com. In terms of sheer numbers, more users downloaded free games but the service providers got their basics right as more users purchased games from them instead of preferring free games.

At the smartphone level, the situation seems slightly different, where some handset makers confuse that mobile phone games are the same as console games and hence end up porting similar games to handsets also.

Most of the console games, however, are not playable on mobile phones. With the arrival of iPhone, the situation changed since the mobile games on it were simple enough to be played on a touchscreen. The trends suggest nobody wants to play with other gamers on the mobile handsets, all the users want is a quick Angry Bird type game before they get started with something else.

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